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US complaints about internet fraud dropped 10 per cent last year.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) fielded 303,809 reports of cybercrime in 2010, down from 336,655. The agency – maintained by staff from by the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center – said the reduced figures were still the second highest in its 10 year history. Non-delivery of payment or merchandise accounted for the biggest single source of complaints (14.4 per cent), compared to 11.9 per cent in 2009.

Malware and scam emails that purported to come from the FBI itself made up the second biggest category of complaint (13.2 per cent). ID theft (9.8 per cent) also accounted for a substantial proportion of the reported problems.

Complaints about advanced fee fraud (419) scams dropped by 9.8 per cent in 2009 to 7.6 per cent in 2010, possibly (we suspect) to improvements in spam filtering.

IC3 makes no estimate of the potential value of the cyberscams reported to it but it does say that it forwarded just under half of all complaints (121,710) to various law enforcement agencies for further investigation.

The report, published on Thursday, can be downloaded here. ®

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